Before having my three children, I was intently focused on my career. I liked to stay busy and fill my calendar to the brim. I said yes to everything, I was the go-to gal at work. Up until the day before I gave birth, I was teaching an overloaded schedule at three different colleges. My world completely changed when I held my first child Sienna and heard her first cries of breathe. She moved her tiny fragile arms and legs against my body and in that moment, I knew my life was no longer just about me and my to-do list. I realized that my “yes” to something meant a “no” to her, and eventually my other two children as well. Even still, pieces of my identity are still wrapped up in what I can do and achieve.
Last semester, I returned to teach three classes at one college after having my third baby Penelope. Returning back to work meant cutting out my moms group at MOPS and my Friday meet up with other moms with similar aged children. Juggling two drop offs and pickups, grading and prepping three classes, and then taking care of three little ones had me exhausted and struggling to do well in all areas. The house was a disaster, we were eating take-out more than I care to confess and I had some students complain pretty harshly about one of my classes. My kids were misbehaving or having more tantrums due to my disconnection and life overwhelm. I broke down at one point (actually, more like five times last semester) because I felt I was failing in all areas of life. It was a moment of clarity in my life that reaffirmed the need to say no to the things that disconnect and yes to the things connect.
After looking at our finances and the cost of childcare after three children, we saw how little I was actually bringing home. Shortly after I decided this semester would be my last teaching (at least for now), my blogging picked up with new campaigns and a friend said she would pay me to design her wedding dress. I would be able to do these things from home during nap time or on the weekends. I was able to rejoin my moms groups and reconnect with other women during this tough season. My children and husband have had more smiles recently as I’ve slowed down the pace of my life to be present with them. I learned the hard way that we cannot do-it-all as mothers and more importantly, we cannot do it alone. We were meant to do this mess together.